September 14, 2010
It took less than a week for someone to poke holes in Bruce Pearl's story that he came clean to NCAA investigators because of his "conscience."
CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish reported that the "incorrect and misleading" information Pearl initially provided to the NCAA had to do with illegally hosting potential recruits at his home during Fall 2008. Pearl apparently initially denied high school guards Josh Selby and Aaron Craft had been at his home before discovering the NCAA had already had a picture of the two prized recruits there.
Selby and Craft at one point both committed to Tennessee but eventually reneged, winding up at Kansas and Ohio State respectively. It's a violation for either player to have visited Pearl's home on an unofficial visit because high school juniors aren't allowed to speak with college coaches away from campus.
John Craft, Aaron's father told Parrish that an Ohio State compliance officer contacted him during the summer to inform him his son might be questioned. The elder Craft would not comment whether his son visited Pearl's home, but he acknowledged to Parrish that he'd heard "through the grapevine" of the existence of such a picture.
Tennessee has already harshly punished Pearl for his actions in an attempt to lessen the impact of potential looming NCAA sanctions. The school announced Friday that it was stripping Pearl of the right to recruit off campus for a full year and docking him $1.5 million over the course of his five-year contract.
"I've learned some invaluable lessons," Pearl said at the news conference last Friday. "After I provided the false and misleading information, subsequently I went back and corrected the record. I learned that it's not OK to tell the truth most of the time, but that you have to tell the truth all the time. I have no tolerable answer for why I didn't tell the truth the first time, and I take full responsibility for my actions."
That all sounded good when Pearl originally said it. Unfortunately, it appears he still wasn't telling the full truth.